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News of former president Bill Clinton’s private phone calls to Donald Trump pin the weeks before the billionaire launched his presidential bid raised several eyebrows in Washington. It could cause wingnut heads to explode.

It’s almost too delicious. It’s the kind of thing you don’t want to believe, but secretly hope is true. Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy has proven as disastrous for the GOP as it’s been great for Trump’s “brand.” The more Trump alienates the rest of the electorate, the better he polls with the GOP base.
● A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 75 percent of Latinos view Trump unfavorably; 61 percent say their view of him is “very negative”; and 55 percent said his comments on Mexicans are “insulting and racist and have no place in a campaign for president.”
● His latest on #BlackLivesMatter — “We have to give strength and power back to the police.” — should seal the deal with black voters. (If that doesn’t do it, a Trump associate quoted him as saying, “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day,” which Trump told Rolling Stone magazine was “probably true.”)
● Reports that Trump called a female lawyer “disgusting” for needing to pump breast milk for her infant daughter, should get him the working moms’ vote. (And the resurfacing of allegations of marital rape from first wife Ivana should lock down the rest.)


Is it any wonder that Trump is the most unpopular GOP candidate in the race? He’s still tops with the base, though. The more offensive Trump gets, the more the base loves him, and widens his lead in the polls. Trump won’t win the nomination, but the longer he stays in the race, the harder it’s going to be for the eventual nominee to denounce Trump without alienating the base that loves him, after he’s turned everyone else against the GOP.

The real nightmare for the GOP is that Trump could stay in the race for a long, long time. Perhaps long enough to win a few primaries, gather some delegates, and become a dealmaker at the convention. And Trump could stay in it for a long run – including beyond the convention as an independent candidate, as he indicated he might at the beginning of the Fox News Republican debate on Thursday.

Unlike all the other GOP candidates, Trump does’t need a billionaire sugar daddy to stay in the race. The Kochs have tried to rein Trump in, but there’s no billionaire boss who can suck the air out of Trump’s candidacy simply by closing his wallet. Trump may have exaggerated his wealth, but he’s still got more than enough of his own money to keep a primary campaign going through the first major caucuses and primaries. Worse, Trump could pour even more money into a third-party bid. His outsized ego would lend itself to that. Plus, Trump is very accustomed to sinking money into losing deals.

How did it come to this? How did the guy who only teased for 20 years about running for president end up a front-runner?

Blame former president Bill Clinton. This week The Washington Post reported that Clinton had a private telephone conversation with Trump weeks before Trump took the “down” escalator to enter the 2016 presidential race. A Clinton aide said the 2016 race didn’t specifically come up, but Clinton was “upbeat” and “encouraging” about Trump striking a chord with the GOP base.

I just bet he was “upbeat” and “encouraging.”

Anyone who’s been in politics since the Clinton years knows that there’s almost nobody better at politics and emotional manipulation than Bill Clinton. Remember, this is the guy who pushed Newt Gingrich’s self-destruct button by snubbing the big crybaby on Air Force One.

I only met the man once, and then just shook hands with him for a nanosecond, in a crowded banquet hall of people clamoring to meet him. But in the moment he locked eyes with me, and enveloped my hand with both of his huge hands, I felt like I was the only person in the room.

Bill Clinton is well aware of the power of his personal magnetism. Even a blowhard billionaire like Trump isn’t immune. Freud would have a field day with the insecurity and inferiority complex that likely lurk just beneath the surface of Trump’s bombast and belligerence. Perhaps Clinton did.

Could Clinton have known the havoc Trump would wreak on the GOP’s presidential primary? Did he know that with just the right amount of ego-stroking Trump would get into the race? Did Clinton become the “Donald whisperer” for that reason? Did he know that news of his involvement would cause wingnut heads to explode? Would he be that cunning and Machiavellian?

Well, they don’t call him “The Big Dog” for nothing.

Here’s the best of the rest of the worst in wingnutia this week:

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